Galettes and The Messy Baker

three galettes

17 Jul Galettes and The Messy Baker

Hold my hand. I’m very nervous. Today is a big day. A. Very. Big. Day.

First of all, it’s my sister’s 2nd wedding anniversary. (Happy anniversary, Allison and Dale.) That’s not rattling me, although I do shudder when I recall putting her wedding cake together during a heat wave.  Secondly, I’m on CTV’s News at Noon today, talking about galettes. Sure, I worry about forgetting a key ingredient or tripping on my way to the car. But that’s not making me antsy, either. Being a guest there is always fun.

No. I’m wringing my hands and flapping about like a puffin in a wind storm because I’m about to make It real. Once I announce It there will be no turning back. I can’t unring that bell. What exactly is It?

I landed a book deal. With HarperCollins Canada.

There. I said it. So now, I guess it must be true.

It’s a baking book — The Messy Baker. If you read this blog I don’t have to explain my approach. There will be mess. There will be a flurry of activity in the kitchen. There will be disasters and triumphs and the odd cat wandering through to see what’s happening. Expect fur on the camera lens and some changes to the website. Like a new title. (Good-bye Christie’s Corner! Hello The Messy Baker!) And a proper recipe index. And other stuff I haven’t had a chance to think about.

So to start things off I’m looking at one of the messiest desserts going — galettes. With no walls to reign in these free-from tarts, their outcome can be unpredictable. Pastry can roll unevenly.  Edges curl without warning. Middles make a break fro freedom. But galettes are as flexible as they are unpredictable. And divinely tasty. To make them, all you need is a little imagination and some guidelines.

The Makings of a Good Galette

There is no one way to make a galette. I’ve gobbled ones sealed with a jam glaze. I’ve seen versions with sugar-sprinked edges while other remain plain. I’ve sampled  variations made with stone fruit, berries, apples, and mixed berries — all in the name of research. The only thing galettes have in common is fruit and a wobbly edge.

Here’s how I assemble my galettes.

  • Pastry: You can use your favourite pie pastry. I like a classic butter pastry since it tends to keep its shape. Puff pastry works nicely, too. I’ve even seen variations made with phyllo. Like most things in life, size doesn’t matter if you know what you’re doing. You can roll out one large galette or four small ones. That’s up to you.
  • Frangipane: Although not a requirement, this creamy nut filling is worth the extra step. Usually made with butter, sugar, eggs and ground almonds, frangipane takes less than five minutes to make. Veering from the classic recipe, I omit the butter since the pastry is rich enough. Don’t like almonds? Try walnuts or hazelnuts instead. Add a bit of citrus (lemon, lime or orange zest) and vanilla for a change of pace.
  • Filling: If you can bake it into a fruit pie, you can make it into a galette. Use your favourite fruit pie filling or toss a bit of freshly sliced fruit in sugar. For the individual galettes shown at the top of the post, I used 3/4 cup sliced fruit tossed in 1 tbsp white sugar combined with 1/2 tsp corn starch. Dot with butter and you’re set.
  • Egg Wash: Another non-necessity, an egg yolk mixed with 1 tbsp of water gives the galette a lovely colour. If you choose to add a sprinkling of turbinado sugar (aka raw sugar) then you get a delightful crunch as well.
  • A hot oven: I bake my galettes at 400°F in the lower third of the oven. Large galettes (pastry rolled to 12 inches) take 40 to 45 minutes to bake, small ones (pastry rolled to 7 inches) bake in 35 to 40 minutes.

Still need some inspiration? Here are some of the sweet galettes I’ve made in the past.

What’s your favourite galette? Do you like them big, small or any way you can get them? Feel free to share a link.


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  • Mardi (eat. live. travel. write.)
    Posted at 08:47h, 17 July Reply

    Whoo hoo – congrats! I can’t wait to see the finished product!

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 09:17h, 17 July Reply

      Thanks, Mardi. You’ll be amongst the first to know when the galleys are ready!

  • Aimee @ Simple Bites
    Posted at 08:47h, 17 July Reply

    Congratulations! What fun news and it couldn’t have happened to a better person. Looking forward to the book already!

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 09:17h, 17 July Reply

      Thanks, Amy. I bet a galette with your sweet cherry-plum jam would be great. I haven’t tried that combination — yet.

  • Calantha
    Posted at 09:03h, 17 July Reply

    Congratulations! What an exciting journey you’re about to embark on. Right now I’d like to embark on a journey to eat those galettes, though :) Lovely.

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 09:15h, 17 July Reply

      Thanks. I think a galette would go down nicely right about now, too. Perhaps with one of your peach-ginger coconut creamsicles?

  • Anja
    Posted at 09:05h, 17 July Reply

    That’s incredible news, Charmian! Congratulations.

  • Andrea
    Posted at 09:17h, 17 July Reply

    Awesome news! Can’t wait to be brought along throughout the process.. Congrats!

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 09:31h, 17 July Reply

      Thanks, Andrea. Be careful what you ask for. I tend to “overshare” :-)

  • Lisa MacColl
    Posted at 09:28h, 17 July Reply

    Congratulations! Consider this my official order for my signed copy. I’ll even buy you the coffee when I pick it up.

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 09:33h, 17 July Reply

      Oh, Lisa. How sweet! Of course this is all far in the future, but I hope you can make the book launch / signing. I think I’ll be the one providing coffee if that’s the case. Thanks so much for the support! One book sold! Guess I’d better write the thing.

  • Susan Hoffman
    Posted at 09:40h, 17 July Reply

    Congratulations Charmian. Andy is very proud of you, I’m sure. How exciting for you.

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 09:49h, 17 July Reply

      Thanks, Susan! Andy is proud but will no longer be the only published author in the family. :-)

  • Emily Dockrill Jones
    Posted at 09:52h, 17 July Reply

    Congrats on the book deal, Charmian! That’s wonderful news!! I have no talent in the kitchen whatsoever, but with a name like “The Messy Baker”, that may be one cookbook I can conquer (or at least attempt).

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 10:17h, 17 July Reply

      That’s the whole idea, Emily! I’m aiming to make baking fun and approachable. I’d love to sign you up as a tester!

  • Cheryl Arkison
    Posted at 10:35h, 17 July Reply

    That’s wonderful news! Congratulations.

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 14:41h, 17 July Reply

      Thanks, Cheryl. As an published author, you might be called on for moral support. :-)

  • Kevin R
    Posted at 10:59h, 17 July Reply

    Congratulations on the book deal. Look forward to the final result !

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 14:41h, 17 July Reply

      Thanks so much, Kevin. I’m looking forward to the final results, too. Step one — write!

  • Connie
    Posted at 11:08h, 17 July Reply

    Oh my gosh, a book deal! That is wonderful news, looking forward to the finished product. Congrats!

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 14:42h, 17 July Reply

      Thanks. I think “oh my gosh, a book deal!” ran through my head a few times, too!

  • A Canadian Foodie
    Posted at 12:39h, 17 July Reply

    My favourite galette is the Saskatoon berry galette I made last Summer – with my homemade raspberry ice cream. Love the individual size (do take a look) it is so purdy! :) Just search saskatoon on my site and it will come up…
    And, why didn’t I think of a frangipan base? Saskatoon berries – some varietals – have a definitive almond note. Must do this next!

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 14:44h, 17 July Reply

      Oh, I think Saskatoon berry galette would be amazing. They’re hard to find here, but if I get a hold of some, I’ll have to give them a try!

      And if you do try the frangipane base, feel free to mix it up with other nuts such walnuts or hazelnuts instead of almonds. I’m not sure what nuts go best with those berries, but it will be fun finding out!

  • A Canadian Foodie
    Posted at 12:41h, 17 July Reply

    PS – Congrats on the book – I was so caught up in the galette – and talk about messes! You should see my kitchen as we speak. My daughter is coming home in 2 weeks for a meet the husband wedding brunch and I have the entire kitchen upside down churning and creating!

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 14:45h, 17 July Reply

      Thanks. And no worries. I get caught up on galettes, too. And a wedding tops a book any day! Have fun with the brunch and best wishes to your daughter and her fiance.

  • Jill Silverman Hough
    Posted at 12:45h, 17 July Reply

    BIG congratulations, Charmian! Yay you!!!

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 14:46h, 17 July Reply

      Thanks, Jill. I couldn’t do this without the support of great food writers like you!

  • Robin Smart
    Posted at 21:33h, 17 July Reply

    Wow. I am pleased and proud for you!! I’ve been sitting on this secret for weeks and tomorrow I am going public with the news at work – there will be no shutting me up! I’ll explain that I might have to leave the office regularly to whip up the hill to help with taste testing. FABULOUS news. Way to go Sis!!

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 08:52h, 18 July Reply

      Thanks. I know it was hard to keep quiet, but you and your coworkers will be rewarded with baking –if this heatwave ever breaks.

  • Krista Mallon
    Posted at 21:34h, 17 July Reply

    Congratulations, Charmian. Looking forward to trying the recepies out of your new book. If you ever need a ‘guinea pig’ for any of your baking experiments, you know where to find me. Put a signed copy aside for me, please. Enjoy this new adventure.

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 08:53h, 18 July Reply

      Thanks, Krista. Your request for a signed copy means I’ve pre-sold TWO books. Yay! Hope you can make the book launch, but I am getting ahead of myself. Must write the thing first. :-)

  • cathy walthers
    Posted at 03:53h, 18 July Reply

    you did it! very exciting news to hear.

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 08:55h, 18 July Reply

      Thanks, Cathy. Yes, it’s exciting. I might lean on you for advice now and again since you’ve written a couple of cookbooks yourself. Thanks for the support.

  • Heather Wright
    Posted at 16:04h, 18 July Reply

    Congratulations, Christie! Wonderful news!

  • Kathryn
    Posted at 08:02h, 24 July Reply

    Excellent! Congratulations. Enjoy the adventure. I know that I’ll enjoy the results of your hard work. Kathryn

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